Domestic violence offences in Victoria

This article will discuss the different domestic violence offences in Victoria, how charges are laid, the court process, and the associated penalties and consequences

Domestic violence is a pervasive and serious issue in Victoria and across Australia. It encompasses a range of behaviours that are controlling, coercive, and cause fear or harm to the victim. The Victorian Government has implemented various laws and measures to combat domestic violence and provide support to victims.

Types of Domestic Violence Offences

Physical Violence

This includes any form of physical assault, such as hitting, punching, slapping, or causing any other physical harm to the victim.

Sexual Violence

This involves any form of sexual assault offences or coercion, including rape, unwanted sexual touching, or forcing the victim to engage in sexual activities against their will.

Emotional or Psychological Abuse

 This includes behaviours that are intended to intimidate, threaten, or demean the victim, such as verbal abuse, manipulation, or stalking.

Economic Abuse

This involves controlling or withholding the victim’s financial resources, such as money, assets, or property, to make them dependent on the perpetrator.


This includes behaviours that force the victim to act against their will, such as threats of violence, blackmail, or manipulation.

How charges are laid for domestic violence offences

If someone is a victim of domestic violence or knows someone who is, they should report it to the police. The police will then conduct an investigation, which may involve interviewing the victim, the accused, and any witnesses, and collecting evidence, such as text messages, emails, or medical records.

If there is sufficient evidence, the police may lay charges against the accused. The accused may then be arrested and taken into custody, or they may be issued with a summons to appear in court. In some cases, the police may also apply for an intervention order to protect the victim from further harm.

Court process for domestic violence offences in Victoria 

The court process for domestic violence offences in Victoria typically involves the following stages:

  1. First Appearance: The accused will have a first appearance in the Magistrates’ Court, where they will be formally charged and asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
  2. Contest Mention: If the accused pleads not guilty, a contest mention date will be set. This is an opportunity for both parties to discuss the issues in the case and see if it can be resolved without going to trial.
  3. Committal Hearing: If the case is not resolved at the contest mention, a committal hearing will be held. This is a preliminary hearing where the magistrate decides if there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
  4. Trial: If the case proceeds to trial, the prosecution and defence will present their cases, and the judge or jury will deliver a verdict.
  5. Sentencing: If the accused is found guilty, a sentencing hearing will be held to determine the appropriate penalty.

Penalties for domestic violence offences

The penalties for domestic violence offences in Victoria vary depending on the nature and severity of the offence. Penalties may include imprisonment, fines, community corrections orders, or a combination of these. For example, the maximum penalty for intentionally causing serious injury is 20 years imprisonment, while the maximum penalty for stalking is 10 years imprisonment.


In addition to the legal penalties, a conviction for a domestic violence offence can have far-reaching consequences. It may result in a criminal record, which can affect employment prospects, travel opportunities, and eligibility for certain licenses and permits. It may also result in a loss of reputation and strained relationships with family and friends.


Domestic violence is a serious offence in Victoria, carrying severe penalties and consequences. It is important to be aware of the laws surrounding domestic violence and to seek help if you are a victim or know someone who is. Support services, such as helplines, counselling, and legal aid, are available to provide assistance and support to victims. A qualified legal professional can also help you understand your rights and options and provide guidance throughout the court process.